March 15

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas – class novel study

If you’ve missed being in class for some of our readings, you can read/listen to the chapters from here.

Complete the following Activities/Handouts as you read through the Chapters.

  • Chapter 1: (Printed) Socrative Comprehension Questions
  • Chapter 2: Handout Questions & Themes Overview
  • Chapters 3-4: Handout Descriptive Writing Activity Personal View vs Bruno’s View, Character Analysis Questions (first pass answers in Blue font, second pass answers in Green font)
  • Chapter 5: Teams Reading Fluency Assessment to complete (in ELA 7-8 Channel)

Sample Descriptive Writing: View from my window
I sometimes like to sit in the dark and look out the window that stands tall along my front door. In the dark is when the soft, yellow fairy lights glow wound along and through the black spindles of my front steps. There’s a city light down the street a little, so it also lets me see the outlines of objects on the street, whether they’re cars of neighbours or the silhouette of someone walking their dog past my house. The steps beyond the front door are wide set, so there’s an easy view to the whole front yard, which usually offers a beautiful patterned view of tall grasses, round shrubs with soft green petals guarding the spikey branches, the round outline of the grass as it winds in and out in a loop, the dark brown of the new earth dirt on its outside with perennials and large flat stones to protect it. This view represents a calm mood to me, because whether it’s in the cool or warm seasons I can sit out there


February 6

Psych 30: Development of Twins in the Womb

Developmental Psychologists study twins, in particular, because their DNA is so similar it reduces the potential variables that can influence personality. That way, they can look to environmental differences if there are differing personalities or abilities in a set of twins.

They have a unique experience in their early embryonic development stage. Follow that in this YouTube video of the National Geographic series In the Womb.

February 2

Class Instructions for Friday – sub support

Hi peeps, I’m away this Friday. You’ve been sent instructions for what to do each class in our Teams Channels. Here are copies of those instructions, in case you don’t have Teams access.

Period 1 ELA B10

Period 2 ELA A30

Period 3 Psych 30
Watching In the Womb – Twins (YouTube video)

Period 4 ELA 7/8

Period 5 Soc 10
Watching the first game of the Basketball tournament. (No class)

January 4

ELA A10 B8.1 Assignment: Presentation Deconstructing Media Source

You’ve recently studied a documentary of your choice that likely attempted to inform or convince viewers of some issue of society that needs addressing, whether related to poverty, education, inequality of opportunities for people, or maybe even environmental concerns.

We talked and you studied a bit how documentaries are a different type of text and need to be approached/studied with a particular strategy. You can’t lay back and just consume it like you get to with films, being able to turn your critical thinking brain off and go along with whatever plot the film offers.

With documentaries, you have to question, have to listen/watch with caution, watching for things like:

  • claims made by the documentary that aren’t supported with evidence
  • overly manipulative music use to impact the emotion of the viewers
  • cutting and selecting only parts of a person’s speech to use what portions of it are useful and exclude what parts don’t support their narrative
  • the bias the documentary makers may have; their agenda that you maybe should keep in mind while you view
  • the methods of construction used to create the documentary, like using audio of interviews overtop of video, transitions by the video making programming, etc.

To work through the process of critically considering a media text like a documentary, you have this next assignment. In the same way you have to plan for your essay writing and ensure all the paragraph portions of it contribute to a single topic, you have to plan out your presentation message and supports. There is a graphic organizer you can use to do that, along with step by step suggestions of what to consider for that part of your presentation.

BEFORE YOU MAKE YOURS: You’ll complete another of our AR Assess and Reflect tasks; you’ll look at Sample Student Presentations to consider what they did well and did poorly. From this, you should have a strong understanding of how to develop a proficient presentation yourself.

Student Sample Presentations Links:

  1. Presentation 1
  2. Presentation 2
  3. Presentation 3
  4. Presentation 4
  5. Presentation 5

Use the handout provided to try to make a list of techniques done well and done poorly for each presentation. You’ll also be asked to rank them from best developed presentations to worst.

Here is a list of many of the feedback comments I gave to the last group of students who developed these presentations. Maybe you can learn from mistakes in design or development that others made to avoid them in your own presentation. 

  • each slide looks exactly the same. Want to create variety for interest of your viewer’s sake
  • an extra slide is included (slide 2 – no content)
  • good headings at top of slide to direct focus of topic
  • use the same punctuation you would in writing – capitals, periods
  • Slide 16 & 8 examples: text boxes overlap (in parts overlap a lot)
  • unfinished presentation – end slides are there without content/nothing on the slides
  • No images in whole presentation?
  • like your coloured outline at the start and that the categories of slides for each coloured heading match (manipulation heading is green, makers heading is blue, etc) Very organized.
  • very nice design choice
  • like the added quote on the title slide
  • good use of spatial layout
  • could make font larger in some places – overall well done.
  • went off topic w documentary choice and presentation
  • some font quite small – hard for viewers to read
  • inconsistent use of capitals, punctuation
  • lots of blank space left on some slides – use it up
  • no “end” – no conclusion to presentation
  • really nice design/style for presentation
  • missing some required content of the assignment – why you have to approach watching documentaries so differently than movies
  • presentation is very short – 6 slides?
  • visually a nice presentation
  • not sure it should be in 2nd person point of view – Slide 2 “share with you”
  • Presentations are meant to be visually engaging for viewers – your slides are a solid dark blue background. A little loud and monotonous for every slide
  • “4 guys” – write out numbers that are less than 10
  • background of every slide is white – underwhelming visual presentation. Presents as if it’s a word doc – blank white.
  • slides developed with paragraphs – but paragraphs are for written texts, not visual ones. PPTs are for bullet points that then the speaker will elaborate on.
  • starting sentences without capital letters. Be more careful
  • included a summary of the documentary, instead of the deconstruction and analysis of the making/construction of this documentary as a social constructed text (manipulations)
  • your slide topics don’t quite flow well one to another. You cover ideas sort of out of the order I’d expect. You mention: why they made this documentary, how it motivates viewers, and THEN you introduced the people it was focused on. A bit out of order
  • slides with lots of blank space – should have included images then if you had the space for it. Visual presentation – need that image to engage with on the topic.
  • gave you formative (during the development) feedback there was info required by assignment not included and additional information (distraction) added that shouldn’t be
  • Slide 6 text falls behind/is blocked by images
  • Slide 7 Text box should be widened or font made smaller. Last letter of the word is broken up on the 2nd line.
  • at times you’ve got lots of space unsured on slides so you could increase font
  • should have an “End” slide. An ending
  • nice design right from slide 1
  • if this is for viewers, remove the parts of your slides/info that hint to it being an assignment (ex alphabatized labels with headers or bullets)
  • nice use of the pages – you didn’t leave blank space left
  • I like your design template choice
  • use up your space. Small font with blank spaces can be made larger. Use the space you’re given
  • some missing punctuation
  • some slides lacking support/details from documentary
December 19

ELA 7-8 Finishing up Projects Before the Break

We’ve only got 2 classes left for 2022! We won’t begin anything new, but you’ll use these classes to confirm you’ve finished recent activities/projects we’ve done. You can use this as an opportunity to see if you can properly track your own completions through our Teams Assignment Tab.

Here is the list of recent-to-older activities to complete:

  1. Beginnings 9 (assigned to you today) See below for video.
  2. Five Frame Stories: Instructions at this blog link.
    1. Five images added into Google Slides – shared.
    2. Storyline developed to make a reasonable plot based on images selected. (Around 5 sentences each image.)
    3. Using Screenrecording tool WITH MICROPHONE to record a VIDEO of your Five Frame Story. Video uploaded to your Google Drive and then Shared with me to the gmail account. (The video is the final project.)
  3. 55 Word Stories: Instructions at this blog link. You should have a minimum of 4 completed. (1 from the 1st day trying & 3 from day 2)
  4. Beginnings 8 Free Write activity. (We did this Dec 6 – many people were missing that day.)
  5. Quill Sentence Combining Activities: Assigned/done also Dec 6th.
  6. “Thank You Ma’am” Flipgrid response to short story questions. We read this story together using Active Reading Cues (predictions, motivation of characters, summarize) and then you answered/discussed the questions attached in your handout. Most used Flipgrid to record responses and some submitted written responses in Google docs.

Are you keeping up with our work in ELA 7-8? You’ve had many months now to get used to the format for class and kinds of assignments we do.
If you’re not finding a way to be more aware of what’s unfinished, we should talk about strategies for that.

December 15

ELA 20: Instructional Essay Overview

Well, now I’d guess ELA has gotten a little interesting for you, right? Suppose you’re at this step in the course. In that case, that means you’ve been reading about romantic relationships and might have even had a blunt conversation within your group to ask people who represent others you’re attracted to the questions you really wanted to be answered. It usually gets interesting when we get to this part of the Adolescence half of the course!

And now you get to write an Instructional Essay –

  • It is Informal, so there’s no hard-fast rule on the format or outline for it.
  • It must be Instructional, which means it has to offer steps to the reader in order to follow through with something (How to be a third wheel, How to date your parents, etc)
  • With the step-by-step instruction, you’ll also have to have strong use and control of Transition phrases of sequence. 
  • The Tone must be sarcastic and witty; this is meant to be playful and comical
  • It must also have a Persuasive tone. This means you have to include language that is commanding, demanding, and like you fully expect readers to follow your instructions fully. Instead of saying “You should…” or “You could…” persuasive language choices include “You must…”, “You have to…”
  • And the Jargon language requirement will take some consideration. Jargon is language that’s really only used related to one topic. The words flambé, sauté, and infuse don’t work outside of cooking. Words/phrases like lay-up, dunk, and three-pointer are fairly obviously related to basketball. So you’re looking to pick a topic (cooking, hunting, basketball, hockey, cinema, etc) and compile a list of the phrases and words that are only related to those topics. Then you’ll carefully integrate them into your writing, like you’ll see in sample paragraphs.


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December 14

ELA 7-8 Five Frame Stories – creative writing/using technology

Stories include a Beginning, Middle, and End.

How interesting/challenging would it be if you were given Random Images and had to create a reasonable storyline that could tie all those images together as a story? We’ll try it and see!

Two Options: Create a Plausible Storyline (slightly serious) or make a Goofy/Comical Storyline

Supports for both options:

  1. Plausible, serious-ish storyline: you can use the websites linked below to find a series of photos that include the same setting, actors/models, so the storyline seems as if it all fits together smoothly, through the images you choose.
    1. Websites you can use to get 5 images in a series include:
      1. pixabay
      4. burst
  2. Goofy/comical-ish storyline: you can instead really test yourself by using a Random Image Generator to select 5 images for you that you have to then try developing a storyline to suit those images and tie a reasonable storyline altogether.
    1. lets you set how many images you want (5) and you can let it pick randomly or you can select a category (ex: animals). Then those are the 5 you go with for your story.
  3. You want to select 5 images for the Beginning-Middle-End parts of a story.
  4. You’ll add each image as a Slide in Google Slides.
  5. Then you’ll develop the Story details for the images to tie them together in a story.
  6. In the final step, you’ll audio record yourself Telling your story along with your images.

Image Examples: Series Serious (horizontal) and Random Goofy (vertical) 






Adrenalin (above) Red (below)

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December 8

ELA 7 – 8 Writing Development: 55 word stories

Some writing practice for you today: Another Beginnings Writing Prompt and then a “55 word story” Challenge!

  1. Beginnings #8 Label it properly in your Google Doc and share to me.
  2. AND Written in the same Google Doc, try developing some Fifty-five Word Story Writing:
    It is a type of story writing that involves writing descriptively (activating the 5 senses) and including dialogue (speech exchanged between characters or internal dialogue). But there is a restricted pattern for sentence lengths you have to follow; the instructions are below.

    1. You can try using a Story Generator if you want.
    2. Write one story after another. See how it goes!

Instructions: from Write Moves text pgs 169-170Write Moves: A Creative Writing Guide and Anthology - Broadview Press

Dip your toe into story structure by writing a “55-word story”, a fiction narrative exactly ten sentences long.

  • The first sentence must have precisely 10 words, the second sentence nine words, the third sentence eight words, and so on until the final sentence is composed of a single word.
  • All acronyms and digits must be spelled out (“28” is “twenty-eight”, which
    counts as two words).
  • The 55-word story must include a setting, a character in conflict, and a resolution (or sense of “ending”).
  • To compose, write the numbers 10 through 1 (the number of words allowed in each sentence) down the left side of your page.
  • Draft the story first as a list of sentences then transcribe your draft into prose format (see the example below).
  • Notice that each time a new character speaks, there is a new line.

Here is a 55-word story called “Wax and Wane” written as an example:


“Say that again,” she whispered, tickling fingers through its hair. (10)
It’s not yours,” he whispered, knealing in the barn. (9)
“Tell me again, Duane,” she sobbed, eyes excited. (8)
“It’s not yours, not yours, Diane – Not! (7) The animal purred between them both. (6)
“Say it again,” she whispered. (5) Duane shifted his body. (4) The kitten slept. (3)
“It’s beautiful.” (2)
Mine!” (1)

Category: ELA 7/8 | LEAVE A COMMENT